Pokémon Go, a free augmented-reality game for Android and iPhone, is rolling out across the globe now – but the UK is still waiting. Here's how to get Pokémon GO right now, plus how to play Pokémon GO and information on the Pokémon GO UK release date, Pokémon GO trailer and Pokémon GO gameplay. We also explain what is the Pokémon Go Plus, and how to pre-order Pokémon Go Plus now. Also see: Pokémon Co-Master UK release date, Pokemon Sun and Moon UK release date, and Best Android games 2016.
You can also jump straight to how to play Pokémon GO and Pokémon GO first impressions. Top tip: If you are going to be playing Pokemon Go you are probably going to need a power bank – it is a battery killer even when you turn on the Battery Saver in the Settings.
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I can't access Pokemon Go: 'Our servers are experiencing issues. Please come back later' error
Pokémon Go is insanely popular, and its servers appear to be struggling with demand at peak times. Things seem to be getting easier, but as a tip, we've found it easier to get online in the morning while the US is still asleep. You can check the status of Pokémon Go here.
Pokémon GO APK ban: Should you uninstall Pokémon GO
We've seen reports of some players deleting Pokémon Go in fear of the theory that The Pokémon Company might ban users who install the app via APK rather than through Google Play. We're not sure where this has come from, since we have seen nothing official from the company and can't fathom what it would gain by doing so. It may be simply a case of people having difficulty accessing the servers (see above) are worried something more sinister is going on.
We're not saying it won't ban users who have downloaded the APK file, but we really don't know why it would.
Pokémon GO UK release date: When is Pokémon GO coming out?
Pokémon GO release date: 6 July 2016
Pokémon Go began rolling out to devices on 6 July 2016, and on 7 July also rolled out to the US. Right now us Brits still can't get it on Google Play, and the international rollout is said to have been paused until Niantic can sort out the server instability caused by enormous demand. You can still play it in the UK now, though: scroll down for details on how to get it now if you can't find it on Google Play or it is showing the message 'this app is incompatible with all your devices'.
If you're trying to install Pokémon GO on an iPhone, also see our sister site Macworld for instructions on How to get Pokémon GO on iPhone.
How to get Pokémon GO now
The quick route to install Pokémon Go now:
This is the fastest, easiest way to install Pokémon Go via an APK file. However, there are concerns that malware has been found in some Pokémon Go APK files available online. Click here for a slightly longer method that lets you download the Pokémon Go APK from Google Play.
Download Pokémon Go from APKPure.com or another APK download site, either directly on your phone or on a PC (it's a 58.1MB file). If you're using a PC then attach your phone to the PC via USB and drag the downloaded file to your Downloads folder. On your phone go to Settings, Security and enable the installation of apps from unknown sources. Now tap on Pokémon Go in your Downloads folder to install Pokémon Go.
The longer route to install Pokémon Go now:
If you'd rather avoid downloading and installing an APK file from a third-party site, there is an alternative that lets you download it directly from Google Play, but it's a little more long-winded.
If Pokémon Go isn't displaying in Google Play on your device, click here in a desktop browser – we're using Chrome since it supports extensions.
If you don't already have one you will need an APK downloader extension, for example Direct APK Downloader. These are regularly removed from the Chrome extensions store, so if you can't find it just search for 'APK downloader' and pick another one.
This particular APK downloader requires you to install a Device ID app on your phone or tablet in order to log into the service. You can download this from Google Play. Open the app and note down the Android Device ID displayed in the top line.
Return to the new window that has popped up in Chrome and enter your email, password and the Device ID you just noted down to add APK Downloader to Chrome.
Now refresh the Google Play page in the your browser and you'll see a new 'Download APK' button. Click this.
Connect your phone to the PC via USB and drag the downloaded file to your Downloads folder.
In order to install this APK on your phone you need to go to the Settings, Security menu and enable the option to allow installation of apps from unknown sources.
Now open your downloads file and tap the Pokémon Go APK to install it on your device.
How to play Pokémon GO
• When you first launch Pokémon GO you need to select the clothing for your avatar. At the moment there is no way to alter this later, so pick carefully.
• You are then offered three Pokémon, of which you get to choose one to try to catch. Tap on the Pokémon and your camera app will open showing the Pokémon somewhere near you. Find it, then try to catch it. This is achieved using a PokéBall, which you flick at the Pokémon aiming at the circle that appears over its head. The smaller the circle the easier the Pokémon will be to catch, but the better your aim will need to be. A green circle means the Pokémon is relatively easy to catch, orange is medium difficulty and red is hard.
• Now it's time to go out and about to find Pokémon in the wild. Pokémon GO displays a map of your surroundings, and nearby Pokémon are shown as leaves rustling on the ground. A bar at the bottom right shows which Pokémon are nearby, and just how close they are is represented by the number of footsteps displayed beside them. If there are no footsteps you're basically sitting on top of a Pokémon. If the Pokémon is greyed out then it is one you haven't seen before and is not yet in your PokéDex.
• You'll find different Pokémon in different areas. For example, near a lake or river you might find water Pokémon, and in towns and rural areas you'll likely find a lot of normal Pokémon. In our experience some of the most common are Pidgeys and Rattatas, but both can become quite powerful when powered up fully and then evolved.
• For every Pokémon you catch you'll get 100 stardust and 100 XP points. If it's a Pokémon you haven't seen before you will get an extra 500 XP when it is added to the PokéDex. You can also earn extra XP by completing a nice throw. You also get a number of candies which are required when you power up or evolve a Pokémon; the exact number depends on the Pokémon you catch.
• Soon enough you will run out of PokéBalls. You can collect more from PokéStops, which are usually found in towns and cities or places of interest. Alternatively, PokéBalls are among the items you can buy with coins in the Shop; you will receive some coins for levelling up, or you can make an in-app purchase.
• You can see which Pokémon you have at any time by clicking the PokéBall at the bottom of the screen and choosing Pokémon. The aim of the game is to power up your Pokémon so they are sufficiently powerful to win gym battles, which become accessible from level 5.
• Our best tip is to power up Pokémon in their first stage as far as you can before you evolve them, and you will get a much higher combat rating in return. If you have a Pokémon with a low combat power that has already been evolved it's not worth keeping. You can power-up, evolve or trade a Pokémon by selecting the PokéBall icon, tapping Pokémon and then choosing the Pokémon in question and scrolling down to choose one of those options. If you trade a Pokémon you cannot get it back later, though you will get one candy in return.
• Until you hit level 11 the number of XP you need to progress through each level goes up in increments of 1000XP. After level 10 you need 10,000 XP to progress to each new level.
• Once you hit level 5 you get to choose your team: Team Instinct (yellow), Team Mystic (blue) or Team Valor (red). You will be prompted to do so when you first visit a gym. Choose carefully: you can't change your mind later.
• You'll see four types of gyms on the board: grey, yellow, blue and red. Grey gyms are unclaimed, and you can walk straight up to these and add a Pokémon, although the game has proved so popular you'll be very lucky to find a grey gym.
• If a gym matches the colour of your team you can enter and train your Pokémon in order to increase the Prestige of the gym (which makes it more difficult for rival teams to win). If you level up the gym through training you will also be able to leave behind one of your Pokémon to help protect that gym from rival teams.
• To begin training in a friendly gym you enter and press the glove icon. Battle will commence, and you will use a single Pokémon to beat as many of the Pokémon defending that gym as possible, so it makes sense to choose your strongest Pokémon. Tap your opponent to fight (but be careful not to tap too fast or the game may glitch), and long-tap to perform a special move. If you know your Pokémon you'll know some types are better at fighting certain types than others – you can pick which Pokémon you take into battle by tapping on it and selecting a new one before the contest begins.
At the end of the battle, whether you win or lose, the gym's prestige will increase and you will earn XP. However, your Pokémon will also lose HP. You can increase its health with a Potion, Super Potion or Revive, which can be picked up from PokéStops or when you level up and are found in your Items (click the PokéBall and choose Items). If you manage to level up the gym, click the icon with the plus to add a Pokémon of your choice.
• If a gym is not friendly and you want to battle in an attempt to take it over, visit the gym and scroll left and right through the defending Pokémon to see whether your Pokémon are powerful enough to take it on. If you think you can do it, press the star icon to begin. You get to choose six Pokémon to take into battle with you, and if you manage to take out any of the Pokémon defending the gym you will lower its prestige. Again, your Pokémon will lose health, so you may need to revive them in between battles. When the gym's prestige hits level one a win will turn the gym grey, or neutral. At this point it is free to anyone, so get in there quick to add your Pokémon before the rival team beats you to it.
• If you can hold on to a gym for a day you will receive stardust and XP in return. If you don't regularly visit an area where there are lots of Pokémon to catch, for instance a city centre, this is one of the easiest ways to gain stardust.
• The ultimate aim of the game is to catch all the Pokémon. You can hold 250 Pokémon in your inventory without upgrading it; likewise, you can hold only 350 things (such as PokéBalls) in your items without upgrading your bag.
What is a PokéBall?
A PokéBall is the ball you use to catch wild Pokémon. You can collect more PokéBalls from PokéStops, when you level up or from the Shop.
What is a PokéStop?
A PokéStop is a place from which you can win rewards simply by visiting. You might get PokéBalls, potions and revives, for example. You need to be near the PokéStop in order to access it – a blue circle will appear around it when you are close enough. When you have visited that PokéStop it will turn purple, and you need to wait a few minutes before you can visit it again.
What is the PokéDex?
The PokéDex is a catalogue of all the Pokémon you have caught, plus any that you have seen but not managed to catch. The aim of the game is to catch them all.
What is a gym?
There are neutral, friendly and rival gyms. You can claim a neutral gym by adding your Pokémon. In friendly gyms you can train up your Pokémon to increase the gym's prestige and to earn XP; if you level up the gym you can leave behind a Pokémon to help defend it. In rival gyms you can battle Pokémon in an attempt to lower the gym's prestige and eventually take over that gym.
Why can't I add my Pokémon to a friendly gym?
You need to level it up through training first. A level one gym needs to be level two before it can accept a second Pokémon; a level two gym needs to be a level three gym before it can accept a third Pokémon and so on.
Why can't I win a gym?
If you have all but defeated your opponent but it refuses to die, this is a server issue. If it won't let you walk away, restart the game and try again. Try tapping slower on your opponent to prevent it glitching.
How do you get more PokéBalls?
You can get more PokéBalls at PokéStops, by levelling up or in the Shop.
How do you get more stardust?
Stardust is earned by catching a Pokémon- you'll get 100 stardust for each Pokémon you catch. A faster way to earn stardust is to leave Pokémon in as many gyms as you can. For each Pokémon you manage to keep in a gym for a day you will earn 500 stardust. Note that the time limit is an overall limit – when it gets down to the last few minutes you need to adding Pokémon to gyms everywhere in order to get the most benefit. You can also earn stardust hatching eggs.
How do you get more candy?
Candies are earned when you catch a Pokémon, though the number you receive depends on which Pokémon you catch. You can also earn one candy when you trade a Pokémon. Candies are specific to a Pokémon type, so you can't use Rattata candy with a Pidgey, for example.
How do you get more coins?
Coins are earned by levelling up and by leaving your Pokémon in a gym for a full day. It takes a while to earn them, so you can also buy them in the shop if you're prepared to spend real money.
How do you level up? How do you earn XP?
XP is earned for basically everything you do. You'll earn 500XP for evolving a Pokémon, 50XP for visiting a PokéStop, and a minimum of 100XP for catching a Pokémon (you'll get 500 bonus XP if it's a Pokémon not currently in your PokéDex). When you earn enough XP you will progress a level, and get various goodies in return.
What is Potion? What is Super Potion? What is Revive?
When your Pokémon either train or battle in a gym they lose health. This can be restored using a potion, super potion or revive. A potion restores the Pokémon's HP by 20 points, and a super potion does so by 50 points. A revive restores a fainted Pokémon.
What is incense?
Incense, available in the Shop or when you level up, draws nearby Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes. Only you benefit from it.
What is a lure module?
A lure works like incense, drawing out nearby Pokémon. However, it must be used at a PokéStop, and all players can benefit you'll spot one by the pink and purple petals coming out of it. Be warned that the lure will be visible on the map to all players, so for your own safety it's probably not a good idea to use one in a dodgy area when you are alone if you want to keep your phone.
What is a lucky egg?
A lucky egg earns double XP for 30 minutes. For a quick way to level up, collect as many rattatas and pidgeys as you can, then activate the lucky egg and evolve those Pokémon. You'll get 1000 XP for each one you evolve. You can get lucky eggs by levelling up or in the shop.
How do you get more eggs?
You'll get Pokémon eggs at PokéStops and when you level up.
How do you hatch an egg?
To hatch an egg you will need an incubator, which you can sometimes find at PokéStops or you can get them when you level up or buy them in the Shop. Some incubators are three-uses only. To hatch an egg, click the Pokémon icon, choose Pokémon and slide across to the Eggs tab. Pick an egg. To hatch it you will need to walk a certain distance, which is shown below the egg. Longer distances are likely to return more powerful Pokémon. Add it to an incubator, then get moving to hatch that egg. Distance is tracked via GPS, and if you move too fast it won't be counted, so no cheating by getting in the car.
What is a Great Ball?
A Great Ball is like a PokéBall but better, and has a more successful catch rate than a standard PokéBall. If there's a Pokémon you really want to catch, use a Great Ball instead of a PokéBall. This is achieved by tapping the bag icon mid-capture attempt.
What are Razz Berries?
Razz Berries can be fed to tough Pokémon in order to make them easier to catch on your next throw. You can pick them up when you level up and at PokéStops.
How many Pokémon are in Pokémon Go? The PokéDex
Below is a list of the Pokémon confirmed to be in the PokéDex so far, although there have been no confirmed sightings of Farfetch'd (083), Ditto (132), Articuno (144), Zapdos (145), Moltres (146), Mewtwo (150) and Mew (151).
029. Nidoran F
032. Nidoran M
122. Mr. Mime
Pokémon GO UK price: How much does Pokémon GO cost?
Pokémon GO is free to download from the Google Play Store for Android and App Store for iPhone, but there is also paid-for content available within the game. It is not yet clear whether the paid-for in-app content will be required to progress within the game.
"For players who want to enhance their Pokémon GO experience even more, certain items and features can be accessed via in-app purchases. Players can spend real money on PokéCoins, the in-game currency of Pokémon GO. PokéCoins can then be exchanged for power-ups, extra items, and other enhancements," said The Pokémon Company.
Pokémon Go Plus will cost $34.99 and is now available to pre-order in the US. Click here for more details on Pokémon Go Plus.
What is Pokemon Go? Podcast discussion
What is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a mobile game for Android and iPhone that is being developed by The Pokémon Company and Niantic, a former Google startup that has since branched out on its own and is known for its earlier augmented-reality mobile game Ingress. Nintendo is also contributing with the development and manufacture of the companion Pokémon GO Plus (see below for more details on that).
Pokémon GO is a mobile app that you download to your Android smartphone or iPhone, but play in the real world through augmented reality.
John Hanke, founder of Niantic, said: "For the first time, Pokémon will roam free in the real world. Pokémon GO will allow players to capture Pokémon who inhabit parks, shopping areas, sidewalks and the countryside all around the world. Imagine discovering a Squirtle hiding along the waterfront in San Francisco, a Bulbasaur at Shinjuku Station or a Pikachu beneath the Eiffel Tower."
Pokémon Go gameplay
In Pokémon GO the aim is to locate, catch, battle and trade Pokémon, and you are encouraged to connect with other nearby Pokémon GO players as you do so.
"Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokémon. Explore cities and towns around where you live and even around the globe to capture as many Pokémon as you can. As you move around, your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you're near a Pokémon. Once you've encountered a Pokémon, take aim on your smartphone's touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it. Be careful when you try to catch it, or it might run away! Also look for PokéStops located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments, where you can collect more Poké Balls and other items," writes The Pokémon Company on its official blog.
Still confused? The Pokémon GO video trailer at the top of this page might help to make things a bit clearer for you.
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Pokémon GO: New details confirmed
Below we detail some new tidbits of information from beta testers, but The Pokémon Company has now detailed some new features in Pokémon Go.
For example, it says that when you launch Pokémon GO for the first time you are able to customise your Trainer, with accessories and clothing to make them look exactly how you like. This Trainer appears on the map and your profile page, and other players will see it when they visit a Gym you control.
The game sees you progress your Trainer through various levels, and the higher you get the more powerful Pokémon you can catch and items you can collect, such as Great Balls that make it easier to catch Pokémon. The Pokémon you catch are added to the Pokédex.
You can also get new Pokémon by evolving them once you have caught the same species of Pokémon enough times. And you'll find Pokémon Eggs at PokéStops, which hatch after you've walked a certain distance.
Some Pokémon will be rare, and available only in certain corners of the world. Water-type Pokémon may appear only near lakes and oceans, for example. You'll have to keep your eyes open when you travel away from home, that's for sure.
You'll be asked to join one of three teams during the game, and can then assign your collected Pokémon to empty Gym locations (only one Pokémon per Gym) or to a location where a team member has placed one of his or her Pokémon. Gyms will be found at real locations in the world. Good team work will allow you to build up a strong defence, and steal Gyms from other teams using your own Pokémon to do battle.
You can use your Pokémon’s two attacks to battle the rival Pokémon, and dodge their advances by swiping left and right. If you win the battle, the Gym’s Prestige is reduced – when it hits zero the other team loses control of it, and all you need to do to gain control is assign a Pokémon to it. Training your Pokémon with the defending Pokémon allows you to once again build up its Prestige – but the better things get the more Pokémon you will need to defend it. ThePokémon Company says you can also team up with your friends and battle at a rival Gym together to take down stronger Gyms faster.
Challenges also feature in Pokémon Go, and range from catching Pokémon to exploration. Achievement medals that appear on your profile can be unlocked following the successful completion of a challenge.
At E3 2016, Nintendo confirmed it would be developing features to enable trading monsters, but these will come after the launch. There will also be some integration with Pokémon Sun and Moon, it said.
Pokémon GO field testers aren't allowed to give away details about the upcoming game, having signed a non-disclosure act, but that hasn't stopped them. Various YouTube videos have been uploaded and then pulled, and one particular Reddit thread has caught the attention of those looking for new information on Pokémon GO. Here are some details we've learned:
• The current build of the game has only the original 150 Pokémon
• You can attempt to catch Pokémon when you come across them, and every Pokémon you catch gains you a shard of an evolution crystal. This is used for your Pokémon to evolve
• When trying to catch a Pokémon your Pokéball appears to enlarge and contract. The smaller is the circle the more likely you are to catch the Pokémon
• When you successfully catch a Pokémon you get a XP boost, which can net you between 100- and 500XP depending on its rarity. You can also earn XP for a good throw
• Pokémon that come from eggs are stronger than most wild Pokémon in the Pokémon Go
• Around 30- to 50 percent of Ingress portals have been turned into Pokestops, which act as item portals and are especially important in rural areas
• Pokéballs can be thrown in several ways, including straight balls, curve balls and flick balls, but wild Pokémon can deflect them
• Eevee, Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle are apparently difficult to find and catch
• There is some sort of speed mechanic within the game that notices when you're going too fast and won't count your movement as progress toward an egg
• Two Pokémon of the same breed can have different moves
• The time of day does not currently seem to affect the availability of Pokémon
• It's currently not possible to alter the avatar you design when first launching the game
Pokémon GO first impressions
Several sites have been posting their first impressions of Pokemon Go.
Slashgear writes: "This game is fantastic. Not in the same way a visually spectacular game like Fallout 4 or DOOM are fantastic, but in a new way. A way that's not like any game I've played before. Pokemon GO is a real game-changer."
Digital Spy was les complimentary, stating: "We can't get away from the fact catching a Pokemon with the real-world surroundings behind it felt awesome – especially as someone who's been playing Pokemon games for 20 years. Hopefully when the game launches in full, there'll be more Pokemon, more trainers and more notifications. Otherwise it's going to take us a very long time to become a Pokemon master."
On the whole first impressions are very good, with some applauding the game for encouraging them to get up and walk around to find Pokémon, but others voicing their concerns about the idea of encouraging children to wander off.
IGN writes: "I definitely agree that this game promotes exploration, but I’m curious to see what that means for a game that’s primarily aimed at kids. And don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. I’m an adult (kind of) and will pour dozens of hours into this game. But for kids, it’s a very different proposition to wander into new areas to try to take down a Gym or catch a Pokemon that popped up at the edge of the map a few streets over. For that matter, even for adults, wandering around with your phone out and exploring streets you’ve never been on can lead to all sorts of problems."
Pokémon GO safety fears
Pokémon Go is to be applauded for its encouragement of people getting up off their backsides and exploring their surroundings, getting some fresh air and some exercise as they do so. However, it's also a concern that it may encourage youngsters to wander off, or lead to an increase in phone thefts as we walk about with them permanently on show.
Darwin police station in Australia, which features as a Pokestop, has already had cause to issue a warning to early Pokémon Go players telling them not to attempt to enter the station in order to catch a Pokémon. It's also requested that they remain aware of their surroundings at all times.
"For those budding Pokemon Trainers out there using Pokémon Go – whilst the Darwin Police Station may feature as a Pokestop, please be advised that you don't actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokeballs.
"It's also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street. That Sandshrew isn't going anywhere fast," it said in a statement.
Pokémon GO video trailer
First Pokémon GO gameplay video leaks
The first sighting of Pokémon Go gameplay footage comes from YouTube user Eric F, and was allegedly filmed during Niantic CEO John Hanke's SXSW presentation.
What is Pokémon GO Plus? Pokémon Go Plus price, how to pre-order Pokémon Go Plus
First Pokémon GO gameplay video leaks
The first sighting of Pokémon Go gameplay footage comes from YouTube user Eric F, and was allegedly filmed during Niantic CEO John Hanke's SXSW presentation.
Pokémon GO Plus is a companion device that is either clipped on or strapped to the wrist and worn like a watch. Pokémon GO functions without the Pokémon GO Plus, but the device is expected to enhance enjoyment of the augmented reality game.
Pokémon GO Plus is being developed and manufactured by Nintendo, and will launch shortly after the game at a price of $34.99. It's available to pre-order now on Amazon.com, but is not yet available on Amazon UK. Interestingly, Amazon gives a release date of 31 December 2016 for Pokémon Go Plus. We think it'll be here earlier than that – Amazon will often put a later release date if it has not yet been confirmed.
Pokémon GO Plus lets you play Pokémon GO without looking at your phone by delivering haptic feedback and flashing LEDs in a series of colours. It encourages players to look not only at their phones and Pokémon GO, but to experience what's going on around them in the real world.
Pokémon GO Plus connects to your phone over Bluetooth and notifies you about events within the game, such as a nearby Pikachu. A button on the front of the Pokémon GO Plus also lets you perform simple actions such as throwing a Poké Ball and catching Pokémon.
Pokémon GO field tests: Who can take part? How to join Pokémon GO field test
The Pokémon GO field tests began in Japan in March and later expanded to Australia, New Zealand and the US. The field trials are now closing in the lead up to the game's final release.
Pokémon GO UK closed beta access: How to join Pokemon Go closed beta?
Quite simply, you can't. Google 'Pokemon Go closed beta' and you'll find several sites claiming to offer a download for the Pokemon Go closed beta. Clearly not all can be legit, and it's worth remembering that the deal with a closed beta is that not just anyone can sign up. To join a closed beta you must be invited. (And if you've come to this article wondering how to join then you haven't been.)
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